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'The Last of Us' star Gabriel Luna on some of the most emotional and harrowing moments from the series premiere

[This story contains The Last of Us Spoilers’ series premiere, “When You’re Lost in the Dark.”]

Gabriel Luna has great respect for The Last of Us Fan of the video game franchise, he started playing games right before he was completely sure that Tommy Miller’s character would go into the HBO series adaptation. After the show’s brain trust Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin officially cast him as Joel’s (Pedro Pascal) brother and Sarah’s (Nico Parker) uncle, Luna Get close to this veteran like a real person. He also carefully documented Jeffrey Pierce’s performance as Tommy in the popular Playstation game.

“Created A few years ago, [Tommy] had a long history with fans and a place in the game, character wise. So you’re sort of like a movie about life A biopic of someone who exists,” Luna told The Hollywood Reporter . “I’m trying to take [from the game] what I think is important and what players want to actually translate the game.”

Last of Us The series premiere immediately recounts the incendiary events of the series, a fungal virus outbreak that turns humans into deranged attackers designed to spread the infection. Miller’s community in central Texas quickly falls victim to the virus, forcing Tommy, Joel and Sarah to flee in a truck. This led to one of the most defining tragedies in the video game franchise, as Sarah was shot and killed by an overzealous soldier, a moment the creative team knew needed to stick with the game.

“It was a moment that Craig [Mazin] felt very strongly about and how it really brought players back into the game. So we borrowed from the game A lot of blocking and framing, and of course I borrowed some of the physical geometry from Jeffrey [Pierce],” explains Luna.

Tommy’s history as a soldier also means he recognizes Sarah’s doomed destiny much earlier than Joel.

“I don’t have much to say on the set, but it’s the energy of a family being torn apart and not being able to take all the pieces away. So it’s a heavy one, man. It’s a hefty thing that I’m both looking forward to and dreading,” Luna shared.

In a recent conversation with THR , Luna also discussed how Mazin had to occasionally convince Druckmann not to make changes to a loved one 1000 He wrote video games. He then reviews his most notable feature film roles to date in Terminator: Dark Fate and His enduring friendship with Arnold Schwarzeneggar.

So how did your casting drop?

Okay, casting The Last of Us ended up being a very quick process. They had some interest, and my team called to see if I was interested. And, of course, I am. It’s a great project with a lot of great people involved. I started playing the first game shortly after they expressed interest, just to get the story and get to know the characters. My approach is to always be prepared like you have the job, in case you might get it.

Then they asked me if I would give something away for their disappointment, so I made a tape with a scene from the game and a scene from the first episode. Soon after, Craig Mazin, Neil Druckmann, and Carolyn Strauss wanted to talk. So, all in all, it was a six-day process from the time they were interested to the time they offered me the role. And then we had a great conversation on Zoom, but it was weird hearing Craig’s voice. My wife is a big fan of Scriptnotes [podcast], so I heard Craig’s voice from the office many times. I’m on Zoom, putting a face on the voice.

Gabriel Luna The Last of Us Shane Harvey/HBO Friendship supply
Gabriel Luna

finally, How much do you depend on Tommy (Jeffrey Pierce) in the game?

I think it’s important to play through it and really understand what Jeffrey Pierce has done with Tommy’s voice and performance in Captured in game. So as I play it and get acquainted with Tommy, it becomes more and more obvious that we’re on the same channel, energy-wise, historically and culturally. There are a lot of similarities there. After Craig and Neil watched my tape, they told me they saw Tommy’s spirit, and when I was introduced to Tommy, I started to understand what they were talking about. That said, knowing where he was born and raised, playing him felt natural.

Funny how we talk about him like he’s a real person. Created 15 Years ago, he had a long history with fans and a place in the game, character wise. So you’re kind of like a biopic about someone who exists in their lives. I’m trying to absorb what I think is important and what gamers want in an authentic translation of the game.

Of course, you also have to live in that moment, and we incorporated all the changes in the story into our version. You have to respond to those as naturally and honestly as possible, so naturally the character will be different because of the new environment. But Tommy is from Austin. I’m from Austin. The character and I were on good terms throughout.

The show has in-game exact shots and dialogue, but it’s by no means a shot-to-shot adaptation. Reaching a familiar destination requires a slightly different path. But how would you describe the similarities and differences between the games?

In some cases we ask ourselves to stick to the source material as strongly as possible. Sometimes, we pinned it down to precise dialogue, precise blockages, and precise moments that were so iconic that it was counterintuitive for us to change them. So I appreciate Craig’s awareness and his ability to know the boundaries where things really have to be the same. Even when Neil says “well, maybe we should do this, maybe we should change this,” Craig says, “No, that particular moment needs to be done exactly the way you originally did.”

As the person who wrote every letter of every script, all 600 page, Craig is free to choose locations where we can explore other rooms in the story while you play the game on its linear and designated tracks . So I like Craig’s approach. This is of course a double-edged sword, because we have to know what true love is and what people are looking for, while also giving people new and exciting experiences.

Did you know Pedro Pascal before this show?

Pedro and I have a lot of friends in common, so I feel like I’m based on people like Robert Rodriguez I describe him the way to know him. We all work with Robert. He worked with [We Can Be Heroes] and, of course, I worked with Robert Matador . We also have a lot of shared crews on The Mandalorian. So I know a lot about him, but I was excited to realize that there is another layer to Pedro as an artist, personally and spiritually. It’s a surprise that the spirit of the game is so ingrained in his makeup.

We talked on FaceTime, and then a few weeks after I arrived in quarantine, we started talking on FaceTime. So we really used this time to get to know each other to the best of our ability. We talked about our family and our history, and I found out he grew up in San Antonio, Texas after being born in Chile. His family moved when he was about two years old, so he also has a deep experience and love for Central Texas, where Joel and Tommy were born and raised.

So I’m from Austin and we were able to agree on this, we had to take all our knowledge of the area from mesquite from cedar trees to cornflowers and paintbrushes by the side of the road. All of these specific memories help inform our Joel and Tommy.

I believe you have one Gabriel Luna Bro and did you draw on that during your time with Pedro?

Absolutely. I have a younger brother, Timothy, so the dynamic changes slightly. But know what it’s like growing up with someone who only has an older brother 30 From head bumping to needing to protect him, a few months apart is really fertile ground for fruitfulness. His mouth was writing checks that I had to cash, so I had to draw from something of that nature. I love that kid even if he is 38 years old now. So I’m really grateful for the character and what it has exposed me to and ultimately brought out from my own personal life. There are some moments that are more real and authentic because I have to devote most of my life to it, so I definitely draw on my relationship with Timothy.

Gabriel Luna

Gabriel Luna in The Last of Us Courtesy Shane Harvey/HBO Gabriel Luna

According to Joel, Tommy is a carpenter, and he wants to be a hero and save the world, whether it’s Army or Firefly. Do you think Tommy would agree with that assessment?

. They are closed with a tougher exterior, obviously Joel. But Tommy, as a soldier, might have to acquire some of the same traits. When you’re in a situation like that, you have to hide your soft side until you come out the other side. So he’s strong in that and has made himself strong. He’s more of a nice guy who loves to play, loves to play, and is very lively. He is someone who loves life and wants to live it to the fullest.

As far as Tommy is a carpenter, it’s just because he has an open mind. Communication is his strong suit, as is empathy and understanding others. He knows how to put together a team and what it means to be part of a squad or team. So Joel is right to call him a joiner, but what he really means by joiner is that he is a communicator and an empathetic person.

Sarah (Nicole Parker) has very emotional moments in the premiere, and you have your own heartbreaking moments. Is this a difficult sequence to engage in and watch?

That scene was obviously very important to me. I circled it on my schedule a few weeks ago and am looking forward to it because of the action and timing involved. The iconic nature of the scene comes with emotional gravity, so it’s all about how I ultimately want to execute the day. So I did incorporate a lot of that into the game. It’s a moment that Craig feels very strongly about, and how it really brings players back into the game. So, blocking and framing, we borrowed a lot from the game, and I certainly borrowed some of Jeffrey’s physical geometry. So it’s usually very important to stay the same.

I watched my brother Joel as Tommy that night and saw him in pain. I witnessed what happened to this young girl who was like a daughter to me. I saw the severity of her wound and from my experience in the military I knew it was fatal. I’m the first to accept what’s going on.

Yes, Tommy’s rendition of “Joel” says it all.

Yes, I have nothing to say on the scene, but this is a family being torn apart rather than being torn apart The energy is able to take away all the debris. So it’s a heavy one, man. It’s a heavy one that I’m both looking forward to and dreading.

Is the truck sequence the bears put together?

Yeah, my memory is really fuzzy. We shot at night for over four weeks and we tried to pull it off as a whole. Our DP Ksenia [Sereda] was in the back seat with the camera hanging in a hole in the roof so she could get the full frame 360 scope. We had a very specific camera choreography, but occlusion was very easy for me. I just have to get in the driver’s seat and try to get us out. Dialogue is also very linear and driven by the actions around us.

We shoot in the summer in Calgary, so we only have about four — half an hour each night. We’re really running and shooting and we’re trying to get as much out of each night as possible.We have a very strict format that we try to follow and when you When shooting a sequence with hundreds of “infected” extras, you have to create the feeling that wherever you look, a very unbelievable and scary story is being told. So we try to work fast and smart , but at the same time, you want to make the most of these other artists you have at hand.

So we ended up wasting a lot of time trying to make these vignettes, these little stories all over the streets. All these really scary things are happening as the world falls into chaos, and in the game you can watch certain moments as you change perspective. So this is one of the bigger tasks we face in the prologue. It was both fantastic and nightmarish just because of what we were dealing with at the time.

Gabriel Luna in Terminator: Dark Fate
Pella Mon/Courtesy Everett Collection

Gabriel Luna

So I have to tell you how much I enjoyed it Terminator: Dark Fate


Thanks, buddy.

Know this is the best review Terminator Movies from Judgement Day

, did it make the box office performance even more depressed?

Yeah, You never know what’s going to happen time and how people will respond. With so many years between the films in the series, it’s even harder to gauge that. But not only that, there are nearly 017 The years between the movie we made and the movie we really wanted to be a sequel to [ Terminator 2: Judgment Day ]. So there’s a lot of room there, and in terms of the presence of Terminator in the minds of viewers, a lot of time is unaccounted for, people who love the franchise. So it’s disappointing that we know what’s in the can. We knew we had a great movie with some really cool performances and some great action. Tim Miller did a fantastic job.

I really found refuge because it was a great movie and people really liked it. Everyone I’ve talked to about this has had a positive experience. I’m not Paramount Pictures; I’m not there to do accounting for them. So disappointment with them is not the same as disappointment with me. I am a mercenary and I do my best in this role. They paid for my shipping long before the box office receipt came out.

Jim [Cameron], Arnold and Linda [Hamilton] are back, Tim is all in on it, you obviously want people to see it, but all in all, I am very proud of this movie. I have developed a lasting friendship and relationship with one of my heroes, Governor Schwarzenegger. So I wouldn’t trade it for a billion dollar flick, but then again, I don’t do Paramount’s accounting.

Will you get used to the fact that you smoke TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, Gabriel Luna Cigar and Arnold on board?

Jesus, no. I won’t. Every moment you spend with him is a time spent with a historical figure, and it doesn’t get mundane at all. It’s really impossible because of his nature, the energy he has and his awareness of what he means to people. His discipline, work ethic, and drive are evident whenever you hang out with him, and he’s genuinely awesome every time. So I don’t think I’ll ever get used to those moments.

We just went to his Christmas party and we sat around with his family and he hugged the court. It’s kind of like a modern day version of court lords and dames, and he’s the king. He is a very kind man and very loyal to his friends. He keeps his circle close to him, something that a man craves and incorporates into his life. It’s discipline, loyalty and dedication to the job.

So you closed the book on Robbie Reyes / Ghost Rider , or does the MCU multiverse give you a glimmer of hope?

It’s great that people like Robbie and love him as much as I do. I’m always open to telling a good story. So if that’s all happening and the pieces are there, then I’d be more than happy to go for it. I stay fit and really anything is possible with the way they approach things.

If you had asked me the same question twice and a half years ago, I might have said, “I’m happy with what we’ve done, if all could see Or remember those ten episodes of Agents of SHIELD, and that’s what I can live happily ever after.” But when I talk to fans now, I hear they still love Robbie six years later, and that makes me very proud.

So those future plans are safely locked away in the Marvel Vault. Kevin Feige has his ideas and designs for what’s to come, but if they come knocking, my door is open. you are right. Judging by the way the story unfolded, the multiverse certainly opened doors that I might have been closing before. This is Hollywood, man. Things changed overnight, so I’m open to having a conversation.

20232013 The Last of Us is now airing on HBO. This interview has been edited for length and clarity .



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